Studies are showing that half of Americans feel lonely and isolated. Lonely people are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy social connections. Loneliness contributes to poor health and emotional well-being. Being alone is different than being lonely.
I see it in the clients I work with who are adamant they want to age-in-place. They lose a spouse, their friends move away or they lose their ability to safely drive and don’t want to use a cab to get around. Often, it’s just the fear or inability to be able to do something new. They insist they are not social people – I get it. I am a proud introvert and savor those blocks of time when I can recharge my batteries in solitude.
However, my clients that insist they are fine alone at home with no activities start to have more health issues and I see a general decline in their cognitive abilities as we sit down to pay bills or discuss a home maintenance project.
You will find more on this topic in this Inc. article: Loneliness Is as Lethal As Smoking 15 Cigarettes Per Day. Here’s What You Can Do About It
If you are caring for a loved one at home, see if you can find a local adult day care center where they can meet others and have an opportunity to try something new in a safe environment. If they are physically mobile, maybe you can find a local walking group they can join for both social and physical engagement.
My husband and I are trying out pickleball, and I am always on the hunt for a good seminar on practical topics. Those give us the opportunity to make new connections and stay socially engaged in our community.
I continue to enjoy tennis which wonderfully combines exercise with the social engagement. It has expanded my local network of friends and acquaintances threefold. I hope by having the habit of using a calendar and by being on the hunt for ways to engage new ideas with my husband and my own, I will ensure that I continue to nurture my need to be socially connected. Practiced.
2 thoughts on “Develop a regular social calendar – Healthy Habit 14”
Kay, I’ve been trying to get my dad to have a lunch date with some of his buddies but haven’t gotten any traction. He prefers to sit or sleep in his chair most of the day.
Thank you for writing informative articles about dementia. They have been very helpful.
The link to the article note above didn’t work. Here’s the link: https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you-can-do-to-combat-isolation.html
Thank you — I’ll go fix the link ASAP!